Because we were traveling light, we didn’t take any books; just one notebook each, and we did everything via the internet on the computer.
So the way we structured the learning is we had two or three days a week, where we would focus on reading, writing, and math. And the rest of the time, we would just learn from our environment, and that means, for math, my son was learning about currency exchanges, by telling the tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand how much the baht means to the dollar. Also, in places like Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we would visit the War Museum there and learn about the American Vietnam War.
Traveling has probably been the best thing that could have happened to our son. Our son has ADHD, a sensory processing disorder, and he has a visual processing disorder. He has other challenges, but those are the main ones. So traditional learning in a public school is extremely challenging for him, and it’s always been work, and it’s been hard for him. It’s been hard for us. It’s been hard for his educators. But seeing him learn on the road as we travel has been beautiful. He really blossomed and came alive. And we really got to understand how much he’s actually learning because it’s hard to see through the mess of the challenges when we’re at “home”.
Out on the road when we see him exuberantly talking to the tuk-tuk drivers because he loved them. He was fascinated by the tuk-tuks, and negotiating the price for the tuk-tuk to take us down to the zoo or whatever, and learning the languages too. In every country, we learned some basic words, and our son would just use those words and just, the fact that he can play a role in his education, and him not even knowing that this is education, that for him, it’s just life, and it is it’s just life, but he’s learning, and this has been amazing.
For reading, for example, which is extremely difficult for him because of his visual processing, he would listen to audiobooks and I would read to him. He could read while he’s standing on his head, we didn’t care, he’s not in a traditional classroom. And we would find workbooks that he would hopefully be really interested in. Everything on our iPads or phones, and then for math, we had a couple of computer programs that he would work on, because again, his style of learning, he needs the interactivity. He just couldn’t do it. It would kill him to do a worksheet or to do a standard type of math. So doing it interactively with these learning educational video games where he learns math. Writing is really challenging for him. So I would let him dictate, I would transcribe for him. We would practice handwriting because the physical act of handwriting has always been difficult for him. So he would do those.
So we do that two days a week for three hours, and the rest of the time we just learn from the world around us, especially for things like history and culture, and social studies. We’d pick topics, or my son would say, I want to learn about the solar system. We’d say, Great, okay, Dad, you’re the science guy and he’d teach them about the solar system.
For our daughter, she was very young. She was three and because she would see her brother reading she would want to read. So we started her on a program called Starfall. It’s just a software application available over the internet, and it’s $35 a year, so super cheap, and she basically taught herself how to read. It was just amazing through this interactive program. That was how we did it with our kids.